One of the amazing things about connecting visitors to remote, rural Fijian communities through our treks is that we get to meet so many interesting and inspiring people. Based on the talanoa (chats / stories) we’ve shared with previous guests, I’m fairly certain that you’ve all found yourselves in challenging situations around the world.
In the short six years that we’ve been in operation, we’ve navigated our way through flooding events and a category five cyclone. But, we are now all dealing with an unprecedented situation. Advice, and associated travel restrictions, have been rapidly evolving. We’ve been closely following developments, and discussing ways to bring certainty both for you and for the communities that we partner with.
As you may already know, the Fiji Government recently announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country. The Ministry of Health has been making preparations for its arrival and people are following official advice on social distancing. The government has acted swiftly and almost all flights have been cancelled up until the end of May.
Approximately, 40% of Fiji’s GDP depends on tourism, and whether or not the virus spreads in Fiji, impacts are very much already being felt.
We’re currently in our low season, but from May onwards we have scheduled trips coming thick and fast. We’ve been weighing up wanting to do the best we can by you, our guests, and our obligations to our small team and our partner communities.
After a lot of talanoa, we’ve decided the following:
- We will run our treks as booked if you are able at the time to continue with your holiday plans. All appropriate precautions relating to hygiene and social distancing will be taken. This is of course subject to government advice.
- If you want to postpone your trek to dates later this year or next year, we’ll carry your deposit forward. We have put together our 2021 calendar and are reviewing our pricing for next year.
- If you want to cancel your trek altogether, we will unfortunately have to uphold the terms of our standard cancellation policy, and we will not be able to refund your deposit, unless we are able to sell your space. If you have already paid in full, we’ll refund you 50% of what you’ve paid.
Why can’t we refund you in full? As a small social enterprise, that exists to connect remote and rural communities to the tourism sector, the simple answer is that your deposit will allow us to continue to operate and provide support to the villages we work with. Planned first aid training and food safety and hygiene training will go ahead when possible over the next few months and are more relevant than ever.
We are also discussing various longer term options with partner communities, including working with conservation agencies and government departments to progress work to connect our various existing hikes into one continuous multi-day trail in order to create a trekking corridor that will support conservation work and cultural heritage projects along its route.
One way or another, we look forward to hosting you on a trek and showcasing Fiji’s stunning interior and rich cultural heritage, if not soon, then sometime in the future. If you have any questions, please do get in touch by emailing me at [email protected]
Matt, Rachana, Joji, Marita and Niki
This post was updated on 23 March to reflect the cancelling of flights through to the end of May 2020, and the publishing of our 2021 calendar.